7 Of The Young Female African-American Shooting Victims Whose Names We Need To Say

7 Of The Young Female African-American Shooting Victims Whose Names We Need To Say

Gun violence is an issue that is not going away no matter how much it gets ignored, but these young girls CANNOT be ignored.

Gun violence is a pretty big topic right now as we consider the current gun laws in place and the impact it’s having on society.

Last weekend kids all across America marched in a #MarchForOurLives rally to stand up for gun violence in schools. During each march, many young people gave speeches and spoke about the impact this all has on them and their education.

One of those brave young people was 11-year-old Naomi Wadler.

Wadler declared,

“I am here to acknowledge and represent the African-American girls whose stories don’t make the front page of every national newspaper, whose stories don’t lead on the evening news. I represent the African-American women who are victims of gun violence, who are simply statistics instead of vibrant, beautiful girls full of potential.”

At 11 years old, Wadler has captured a nation, drawing attention to an extremely pervasive, yet quiet, issue.

There are so many young victims of gun violence every day with violence growing in schools and highlighted in the media.

However, one thing that is often never shown on the news is the young African-American victims, especially young girls.

Wadler’s speech struck me as I listened to her list names I had never heard of. Why is that?

Why are so many young African-American girls being killed with guns, yet never shown in the media?

It all comes back to racial bias and the #blacklivesmatter movement. If we want to change, we first have to start recognizing the issues.

Here are some of the names you might have missed but need to know.

Courtlin Arrington: The 17-year-old was shot and killed during a classroom shooting at Huffman High School in Birmingham, Alabama on March 7, 2018. She was the only life lost in that shooting.

Hadiya Pendleton: The 15-year-old was shot in the back while standing with her friends in a park in Chicago, IL on January 29, 2013.

Taiyania Thompson: The 16-year-old was shot in the face in an apartment in Washington D.C. on January 25, 2018. Her own father had been shot and killed when she was just an infant.

Toni Stevenson: The 15-year-old was shot multiple times by two masked men with assault rifles while sitting in a car in St. Louis, Missouri on January 18, 2017.

Mi’Kenzi Bostic: The 6-year-old was shot and killed in her home by her 9-year-old sibling on February 13th, 2017 in St. Louis, Missouri.

Kanari Gentry Bowers: The 12-year-old was shot in the head by a stray bullet while playing on a playground in Chicago, Illinois on February 11, 2017.

Takiya Holmes: The 11-year-old was shot in the head by a stray bullet while sitting in a minivan in Chicago, Illinois on February 11, 2017, killed in the same shooting as Bowers.

These young girls are only a small portion of the number of victims that gun-violence affects. Whether it was an accidental shooting or a direct aim, they were still killed with a gun. They are still a minority.

And they matter.

The sooner we start acknowledging the issue, the sooner we can get to solving. And it starts with you.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved

To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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